Some Favorite Things

Indicated with a ⭐, I'm sharing a few objects that I enjoy and make my life better in some small way. These are objects that I would acquire again in an instant if I lost them. Scroll the page, or jump to a section by hitting one of these keywords.

Bicycles · Coffee · News Readers

I also reference products that are associated with the things I recommend. For all products I've linked to brand websites where available, but I've also included Amazon US affiliate links which earn me a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase.


I'm not a daily cyclist but I am working on riding all the rail trails in New England on folding bicycles. The compact folding bikes fit in the trunk of my car without having to worry about theft, or the cost of equipping the car with a hitch and bike rack. Having a folding bike is also super convenient for emergencies and for exploring a city on a whim.

Zizzo Via Folding Bike ⭐ Zizzo Folding Bicycle
Brand Page | Amazon Link
US based Zizzo build reliable budget folding bikes. The Zizzo Via suits me with fenders and hybrid tires as standard, it's light and it handles unpaved trails and rugged terrain well. I can confirm that it can handle a 6'2 220lb human for hundreds of trail miles. I get 3 bikes in the trunk of a VW Jetta with the back seats still up. They're also great for kids around 10 and up since they're readily adjustable. Video: folding my Zizzo Via.

The main disadvantage is that folding bikes with 20" wheels are slightly less comfortable than a full-size ride and require a little more effort, but these are hits I'm willing to take. On hardpack rail trails I usually limit a ride to around 40-45 miles. I have a list of suggested bike accessories on my Trailspotting Gear page.


Spoiled by espresso machines at my places of work, my coffee at home at was no longer cutting it. My favorite simple alternative is the Aeropress. Combined with a grinder and a 2-tablespoon sized cup, I can choose between our daily driver coffee and a specialty bean one cup at a time.

Aeropress ⭐ Aeropress
Brand Page | Amazon Link
Aeropress is a french press that looks like an oversized syringe. Add 2 tablespoons of coffee, hot water and plunge after 2½ minutes.

Mesh Aeropress Filter Mesh Filter
Brand Page | Amazon Link
This reusable metal filter works great as an alternative to one-time-use paper filters. It does let more fines through, but I prefer my coffee like that anyway.

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder Baratza Encore Grinder
Brand Page | Amazon Link
If you buy your beans whole, any grinder will do. Coffee nerds insist on a conical burr grinder for a consistant grind, and this was the best quality budget grinder we found. Use setting 12 for the Aeropress.

Olde Brooklyn Coffee Olde Brooklin Coffee Beans
Brand Page | Amazon Link
This large 5lb budget bag is good for 206 x 11g servings and with Amazon's subscribe and save program the price drops further. We also try some local coffee roasters and and occasional subscription services via this useful Reddit wiki.

My Aeropress workflow is a simple: 2tbsp whole beans, grind, add coffee to Aeropress and fill to the top with hot water. Wait 2-2½ minutes then plunge. There also a rabbit hole of Aeropress recipies if you're looking to descend into increasing degrees of coffee nerdity.

 News Readers 

I get my daily news ad-free and tailored to my personal preferences thanks to RSS. You can do the same and it doesn't take much effort to set up. You can even get access to some paywalled content this way, from publications such as The Atlantic and The Economist.

With RSS (Really Simple Syndication) I subscribe to publications and have articles delivered in a way similar to how podcast episodes magically appear on our devices. The format has struggled to gain popularity because companies have mostly failed to find ways to monetize it. Flipboard is the exception - their app serves up RSS content from a multitude of publications, but it injects its own advertising between the articles.

Below are the two things you need to get it running. Also, if you want some feeds to get you started you can check out my feed list here.

Inoreader Inoreader
Website | iOS App
The free version Inoreader account should be fine for most people, including myself. Use it to create your own collection of RSS publications by bringing your own, or by using Inoreader's search function. I also like how I can group publications by subject, so I can choose between reading mixed articles and focusing on a particular subject.

Lire iOS app ⭐ Lire
iOS App
Publishers started serving incomplete articles when they realised that RSS users weren't visiting their ad-supported websites, and this is evident when using most feed readers, including Inoreader's own product. Lire however, is an iOS only app that has a special talent of being able to replace partial feeds into complete articles. I'm not aware of an Android equivalent unfortunately.